Oats and Olive disappeared 3 miles from Springer, and Vicegrip and Sap were born. Every day is an adventure unknown until the moment we live it. We'll be updating this site when we get access to a computer in a trail town, which we hope won't be too often, or we'll never get to Katahdin! Thanks so much for following, and for all the Trail Magic we've already stumbled upon. I figured out how to enable comments, so please leave us a message at the end of a post. We would love to hear from you!
"One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art in conducting oneself in lower regions by memory of what one has seen higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least know."
~ Rene Daumal. This quote struck me right where I am, as I reminisce about our AT experience daily, and as I face the challenge of maintaining balance in a complicated world. The secret seems to be remembering the highs when you’re in the lows. Trusting that soon the feeling of perspective, gratitude, and joy will be back. You just have to climb another mountain.
Here is the last batch of summit photos.
We were told by the ranger at Baxter State Park that most likely we would be the last thru-hikers to summit this year. Last one to Katahdin wins!
P.S. It was me. I really worked for this title. I am an expert dilly-dallyer. Looking back, I wouldn’t trade any of the moments in which I smelled the proverbial roses. Stopping to understand and enjoy where you are and who you’re with is what makes the journey worthwhile.
The Thanksgiving holiday gives me a chance to pause during the somewhat jarring process of reacclimation to civilized life.
Though both already seem like a dream only Clark and I can understand, I am deeply thankful for our Appalachian Trail thru-hike and especially for our fortuitous November 1st summit. So I thought it would be fun to post some photos of that memorable day, and hope you enjoy them. I plan to upload the rest of the summit photos in the next post as there is a limit on the number of photos per post.
We wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all. And extend a heartfelt thanks to everyone who followed and supported our journey.
I also want to offer a special thanks to our parents:
Susie, who housed our museum of real-world stuff in her basement, made sure we always had the right clothes and gear at the right time, allowed her linen closet to become a hiker closet, and nourished us every step of the way not only with her spirit but with the most delicious, creative, and thoughtful maildrops;
Larry, who became our weatherman, chauffeur, steadfast iSpot checker, and champion;
And my parents, Clelia and John, who made our hike possible by welcoming us to live in their guest cottage for 8 months prior to the hike, opening their basement to more storage, collecting all of our mail, loving and caring for my pup Gnala, and giving me the world.
The material ways that people have helped us achieve our dream is overwhelming. And I can only begin to understand the less tangible gifts so many people have given us — faith in our progress (ok, and a little doubt from some that we would make it all the way!), love, concern, encouragement, and sharing in what we felt — the excitement and delight, despair and fear, insanity and pain, wonder and magic.
It was a journey from Georgia to Maine. But it was also a journey from the people we were before the Trail to the people we became because of it. This transformation—along with the people who have made it possible—fills us with gratitude.
And I’ll admit, a little anxiety. Will it last — our renewed vigor, our sense of freedom, our broadened perspectives, our belief in the goodness of humanity and in ourselves? Will all the effort be worth it? Will we be lost without our north star? Will we retain everything we learned on the Trail and apply it to our slowly shaping, complicated, over-stimulating, multi-directional off-Trail lives?
The test continues as we transition. We’re up for the challenge. May the magic survive beyond the realm of the white blaze.
We are moving into our new home outside of Richmond next week. It’s beautiful and has two fireplaces and all the thrilling modern conveniences and I can’t see a soul in any direction. I’m itching to nest after so many months as a nomad. But I’m also itching for a short hike up Katahdin next summer. Maybe we can have the best of both worlds, both civilization and wilderness, now that we know them both so intimately. What a gift.
I prayed I would find a cast iron skillet in Millinocket, and I did. Vicegrip carried it up Katahdin in our dear friend Skillet’s honor. His spirit will always survive. He’s probably the only other person I’ve met who would do something as crazy as carry a cast iron skillet up a mountain.